#mustread

The Good Karma Diet

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, my relationship with food has drastically changed over the years.  Once upon a time, I was afraid of food and what it would do to my body.  I ate foods that in my head wouldn’t make my 95 pound body “fat,” such as dry cereal.  Lots and lots of dry cereal and other empty calories.

I’m surrounded with gratitude knowing that I my relationship with food has greatly shifted.  Whereas I was once fearful of the food entering my body, I am now aware of the powerful ways food serves me…mentally, physically and spiritually.

For me, leading a balanced lifestyle means having a balanced body and a balanced mind.  Nutrition plays a key role in this.  I can’t have a balanced body if I don’t fuel my body properly.  I can’t have a balanced mind if my relationship with food is skewed.

My nutrition truly started to balance out when I started to track my macros.  As an athlete, it was vital for me to figure out what served my body well.  I was over being exhausted all the time. While I thought this was from being too busy (which part of it was), it was mainly do to the fact that the “healthy” food I was eating wasn’t serving my body.

Often, when I bring up my newly, rejuvenating eating habits, many people respond with “Oh I don’t care about calories.”  This was my problem, though.  I was unaware of how I was underserving my body by not consuming enough calories.  As soon as I increased my calories and properly proportioning the amount that came from carbohydrates, protein and fat…I noticed life changing shifts in my energy levels.  Food is powerful. 

Now, I’m taking my relationship with food to the next level.

My best friend and soul sister, Erin Frye, texted me one day with something along the lines “So, I decided I’m going to be vegan.” Being supportive (and slightly ignorant), I told her that was amazing and to make sure she was consuming enough protein.  She passionately shared her journey into this lifestyle with me, so much so that I became intrigued.

The idea of a plant based diet was not exactly new to me.  Being a Health and Wellness major at UNCA, I was exposed to documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, and provided an overwhelming amount of information on the value of receiving nutrients from nature.

So, I decided to educate myself.  Erin recommended The Good Karma Diet.

Let me start by saying, with just about every chapter I read came a thorough google search on the counter view points.  My purpose in reading this book was to become aware, and think about what would mentally, physically and spiritually best serve my body.  I knew that awareness of my macronutrients had served my body well and I wanted to continue that path.  Would I be able to do so?  I quickly learned my answer was yes. 

So here’s a mini break down of the book and why I believe its a must read, whether you want to adopt this life style or not.

1. You can make this lifestyle fit you. Victoria Moran does a phenomenal job on making it obvious that there are no rules and regulations you have to follow in order to begin your vegan journey.  Perhaps you want to improve your health.  Maybe you became aware of the treatment of animals and simply couldn’t stand behind the factory farm industry.  Whatever your motivation, life happens, and any choice you make can have a powerful impact.

For me, I had contemplated giving up certain things and not others, mainly to ensure my grams of protein could be maintained.  Perhaps I’d continue eating eggs. But then I learned…

2. Just because it’s good for you, doesn’t mean its good for the animal.  Over the past few years, I had always eaten “well.” Organic foods, local meat, cage free eggs etc; etc;  Although the way food is handled may serve me, it does not necessarily serve the animal.

Organic means the animal is not stuffed with hormones or other chemicals. This term has nothing to do with how crammed the animal is in it’s cage, being treated like furniture in a storage unit.

Cage free means the animal is allotted x number of hours outside of their cages.  It has nothing to do with the food their given, where they live, and whether or not their body parts are chopped off.

Local is great for supporting your community, but again, does not necessarily mean the animals are treated top notch.

Some people may say, but their just animals.  And that’s okay! That is your opinion, your view of the matter.  For me, though, I couldn’t see it like that.  I had baby Pood laying with me and couldn’t fathom that the cows, chicken, lamb etc; were much different than my sweet pup.

This was also very eye opening for me.  I always assumed that because the food was good for me, it was good for the animal.  You walk into places like Whole Foods and the Fresh Market, where they seem so food friendly, but in reality, their corporations trying to get ahead.

3. Nourishing yourself with nature. As I mentioned previously, my biggest concern when I began educating myself was being able to keep up my calories and macronutrient percentages.  I quickly learned that I was highly misinformed about the ability to get carbohydrates, protein and fats from nature.  The book has a plethora of chapters that discusses topics people often argue: protein intake, vitamin B12, amino acids etc; I quickly found that I’m easily able to keep my calorie intake up while serving my body with delicious foods.  In fact, plant based proteins are proven to serve your body better compared to animal based proteins, which are linked to cancer cell growth and heart disease.

4. It’s not just about the food. Animal products come in many forms.  The book provides a dose of information on other animal products and the companies that support the well-being of animals.  From beauty and health products to clothes and household items, animal products are all around.  The author does a phenomenal job of offering information and available alternatives.

As I mentioned earlier, I began this book simply to educate myself.  And, I did just that.  I became aware of how the choices I made with my food were impacting my body, my community and the environment.

Even if you don’t want to adopt the lifestyle, or you made multiple counter arguments to the points I made in this post, educate yourself.  Like I said, with each chapter, came a thorough search on the other point of view.  I weighed  both the opinions and the facts and found that my heart and mind connected with the Good Karma Diet.  Becoming aware of differing life styles is a part of being a member of our diverse world.  There’s no shame in building an understanding of how and why other people live their lives the way they do.

So cheers, to being physically, mentally and spiritually served by food!

January Book: Adulting

As you may or may not have read from my recent post, Oh Hey, 2015, I’m on a mission to achieve some mind-body-spirit love. Like I tell my students every day, readers are leaders, so in hopes to practice what I preach, I’ve made my “mind” goal to read one new book a month.

This month, I’ll be trekking through Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown. In just reading the first chapter, I’ve already acknowledged this book will be filled with both wit and sass, obviously making it a fabulous read. Brown gets it. We all think that we come to this age of being an adult, but being an adult isn’t a noun…it’s a verb.  Adulting is something you do, based on the choices you make, and we all make adult choices.  How is that?  Well, we’re all making choices and that’s a pretty adult thing to do.

So, if you’re constantly questioning why and how you’re failing at being an adult (like you suck at paying bills, or you’re still not at your dream job despite having a degree or two), please read this book with me. (Side-note: I am in no shape or form accusing you of being a failed adult.  The reality is, we’ve all had or currently have this fear of failure). And in all honesty, I have a feeling that we, myself included, could use a little help with getting over ourselves and seeing the bigger picture of adulthood.

 Also, you know it’s a good read when I’m up two hours past my 8:30 bedtime 😉

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Happy reading!

#GIRLBOSS

GIRLBOSS

So you want to be a #GIRLBOSS?  Sophia Amoruso bluntly lays out the ground rules for creating your own #GIRLBOSS lifestyle.

Before you  can become a #GIRLBOSS, it would help to know what exactly the lifestyle entails.

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In this book, Sophia Amoruso depicts how she went from high school drop out to the CEO and Creative Director of the multimillion company,Nasty Gal. She makes it very clear that luck played no role in her success.  Her story inspires you to realize that the ability to be a #GIRLBOSS is in you.  It’s a matter of playing your cards right.

Here are three of the biggest take-aways to help you succeed in creating your own #GIRLBOSS lifestyle:

1. Follow Your Passions

As much as Sophia Amoruso wanted school to be for her, it just wasn’t.  She couldn’t stand the mundane routine and structure of educational institutions.  It just wasn’t for her.  And you know what? That’s okay. Instead of forcing her energy into something she thought she had to do, she invested her energy in her biggest passion: style.  The most important thing about style is it has to be your own.  Going from punk, to goth, to disco diva, Sophia Amoruso focused on creating herself.  She let her passions guide her path.  Nasty Gal started as an e-Bay account to afford rent and turned into something bigger than Sophia imaged possible.

2. Work Your Ass Off

As  Sophia points out multiple times in #GIRLBOSS, luck has nothing to do with her success.  It won’t have anything to do with your success, either.  The only way to live your dream life is to create it.  And the only way to create it is by working your ass off.  Any job Sophia had (subway sandwich maker, shoes salesperson) she sought as a learning opportunity.  Was she always the best employee?  Not exactly.  Still, she has no regrets in the jobs she had prior to being a CEO.  They all led her to the path she’s on today.  When she finally started her eBay store, she obsessed over perfecting it.  She wasn’t working her ass off for herself; she was working her ass off for the people interested in Nasty Gal, for her customers.  She paid attention to every detail: pictures, descriptions, hot sellers, slow sellers, you name it.  She didn’t give into the petty eBay seller drama.  She focused on creating a company of integrity.  Seven years later, Sohpia without a doubt proves that working your ass off will lead to success.

3. Check Your Ego

Although #GIRLBOSSes know they are true bad asses, nothing is beneath them.  In order to be successful, you must focus on all the details that fall into your path.  Success comes from believing in yourself, believing in your community, standing your ground all while being polite.  Even in creating your own business, you don’t and won’t know everything.  Let yourself fail.  We all do it.  The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is accepting failure.  Rather than dwelling on what doesn’t work (or straight up ignoring it), learn from it.  Shit happens. Let go of your ego and roll with what life throws at you.

#GIRLBOSS is a great read for any and everyone.  I especially recommend it for people who are ready to make a career change.  Whether your fresh out of college, starting all over, or not taking the educational route, Sophia Amoruso will inspire you to bust your butt and create your life.

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So what are you waiting for? Get a copy of #GIRLBOSS and start changing the world.  Focus on changing your life and inspire others to do the same.  If you couldn’t tell, it’s without a doubt a #mustread.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Bernadette Fox taught me one very important message:

It’s okay to be a menace to society.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is the story of a young girl, Bee, on the search for her mother.  Bee uses emails, messages, recordings and any other means to piece together the where-abouts of her mother.

Bernadette was once known for her creativity and innovation in the world of architect.  However, Bee discovers how various disasters led to her mother becoming a (smart ass) recluse.  Bernadette goes missing days before the family has planned to venture off to Antarctica and her daughter is determined to find her.  Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a mystery filled with humor and love.

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The Lost Girls

I rediscovered my love for reading during my first (and last) year as a teacher.

What started as a hobby quickly became my escape.  As I felt trapped in a mundane routine of adulthood, I sought adventure in literature. I found myself envious of the lives these characters were leading.  Until it finally dawned on me that I, too, can lead a life guided by excitement, passion and love.

The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner changed my life for the better.  As their thirtieth birthdays approached, Jennifer, Holly and Amanda decided to stray away from certain milestones (babies, promotions & marriage) and instead journey down the path less traveled.  Quitting their jobs, they embarked on a year long journey around the world.

I found myself constantly saying “I want to do this.”  “oh my god, I’m so jealous of them.” Until it dawned on me…why should I be jealous of others taking risk, having adventures and being happy? I quickly pumped the breaks and recognized my life needed a change.

To say this book inspired me to quit my job as a teacher would seem a little silly.  However, the journey of these three women without a doubt empowered me to examine my purpose, goals and passions.  I realized my teaching career didn’t fall in line with my aspirations.

So maybe it inspired my resignation just a little…

Regardless, this read is not only full of adventure, but its relatable.  I found myself able to connect with each character: the good and the bad.  Although it may seem like a dream come true to spend a year travelling, there are consequences.  They had to deal with finances, relationships, illness as their journeyed through self discovery.

The Lost Girls changed my view of what it means to live.  Not only did it ignite my love for reading, it ignited my love for life.

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